Waterfront Botanical Gardens receives $1.5 million toward Japanese Garden

A Summer House will also be built with a stream flowing under it. | Rendering from Waterfront Botanical Gardens

The Waterfront Botanical Gardens (WBG) received $1.5 million in state funding to get the ball rolling on its two-acre Japanese Garden.

The funding will go toward the construction of an access road that will be used to keep heavy machinery off the main drag at the gardens located at 1435 Frankfort Ave. + will also allow for a new pipe system to help with drainage at the site. 

The Japanese Garden is part of WBG’s Phase 1D expansion and was designed by Japanese landscaper Shiro Nakane of Nakane & Associates. 

The new garden will be an authentic Japanese garden, meaning its design is accompanied by Japanese aesthetics and philosophical ideas while highlighting the natural landscape + avoiding artificial ornamentation.

Bonsai and tea gardens + a bamboo grove will grow onsite. | Rendering from Waterfront Botanical Gardens

Here are a few of the main features of the garden, which are also available for sponsorships ranging from $25,000 to $1 million. 

  • Waterfall + pond — The pond will be fed by the waterfall and stocked with koi 
  • Tea House — The Chashitsu (tea room) will allow guests to view and participate in traditional tea ceremonies 
  • Autumn Grassland — After the flowers are gone, grasses will flourish through multiple seasons 
  • Pebble beach — Smooth, dark stones will represent the foam of an ocean
  • Cherry Tree Promenade
  • Three bridges — Arched Bridge, Stone bridge + Yatsuhashi (zig-zag) Bridge

Crews are expected to break ground later this year on the project, but you can start immersing yourself in Japanese culture at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens at one of these upcoming events

  • Japanese Calligraphy | Tues., July 5 | 6-7:30 p.m. | $20 for members, $25 for non-members | Learn the basic calligraphy skills and how to write Japanese characters surrounded by fresh-cut flowers + views of the gardens
  • Ikebana | Sat., July 9 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | $100 for members, $125 for non-members | In this four-hour workshop, you’ll learn the Japanese art of flower arrangement and leave with a new creation + a sushi lunch is provided.